Bookmark and Share

From chemical engineering to Christian service - Baltzell's journey leads to family ministry

January 2, 2013

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Brian Baltzell’s arrival at Broyhill Home in Clyde was a lengthy trek both figuratively and literally. From working with the developmentally disabled on the ski slopes of Utah to serving as a program specialist for Eckerd Camp in Newport, NC, each step brought Baltzell geographically closer to where he serves today.

Working with children and families as Broyhill Home’s newly-appointed Director of Family Work is also a far cry from Baltzell’s career beginnings as a chemical engineer.

“I wanted to do more than help someone else make money by making plastic,” Baltzell explains. He worked for two years before leaving the field to pursue a different path – a vocation. “I just knew I wanted to be a part of ministry.”

Baltzell soon discovered a correlation between his skills as a chemical engineer and his calling to serve others.

“I found an easy link between solving problems on paper to helping others problem-solve relationship challenges,” he says. “I found that I had a strong ability in working with people.”

In 1990, Brian married Lynda and six months later accepted a position at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). But his journey did not immediately lead him to BCH’s western campus. Instead, he began on the opposite side of the state at Kennedy Home in Kinston as a social worker and fill-in child care worker.

“I enjoyed being involved whether it was with co-workers or clients,” Baltzell says. “When you added in the ministry aspect, it made everything complete.”

During his time in Kinston, Baltzell obtained a degree in biblical counseling so that he could work with hurting families from a perspective firmly grounded in his Christian faith.

“Being able to form a relationship with people where they know that you care opens the door to discussing faith with them,” he says. “What you share with others is always going to have limited value if it does not include Jesus.”

Baltzell moved to Broyhill Home in 1994 where he worked directly with children and families as a case manager. When a child came to live at Broyhill Home, Baltzell worked with the entire family to help them identify and overcome the problems they faced.

“We have a terrific program, but it has to be more than that,” Baltzell explains. “It has to meet the family’s need no matter what it may be.”

Baltzell says it can take months working with a family to identify issues. The needs are not always immediately apparent.

“You go on that journey with them until they are able to tell you what their needs really are,” Baltzell explains. “I don’t see it as me having the answer. I used to have more confidence in myself, and now I have more confidence in God.”

Baltzell discovered that helping those who turn to BCH for help is just as much about his own learning experience. “God speaks to us in each situation. If I’m not learning something or hearing from God, then I’ve lost that aspect that makes us a ministry.”

Baltzell is approaching his 23rd year at Baptist Children’s Homes. In his new position, he realizes his personal journey is far from complete.

“Going forward, I want to be sure that I’m always supporting our people who serve here,” Baltzell says. “I want what we do to be meaningful to those we serve so that it leads people to Christ. Our desire is for them to see God for themselves.”